Racing pigs and flying dogs: Welcome to the NJ State Fair in Sussex

Zen, a 10 year old Australian Shepherd goes all out, at the 2019 NJ State Fair. Photo by Jeff Sovelove.
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By Jeff Sovelove

If it’s August, it’s time for the New Jersey State Fair Sussex County Farm and Horse Show.

The show, which runs through Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019, at the Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta, treats visitors to a petting zoo, farm animal competitions, a horse show, a circus, flying dogs, and of course, the ever-popular racing pigs.

These piglets are selected when they’re just six weeks old; it only takes a week to train them, since they’re among the most intelligent animals. They love to run to for their reward — an Oreo cookie at the end of the track.

But before you run out and get one as a pet, be warned — they’re bred to grow quickly and will be 250 pounds or more by the time they’re six months old.

Slideshow photos by Jeff Sovelove. Click /hover on images for captions:

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There also is a special race of the “ugly pigs”… which looked and quacked very much like ducks.

Over the weekend, fair-goers also saw K9s in Flight, an energetic team of amazing Frisbee-catching and diving dogs.

All these dogs are rescues from shelters, and some participate in a program called A New Leash on Life, where problem dogs go into correctional facilities and train with the inmates until they earn their good dog citizen reward.

Bentley, an Australian Sheepdog mix, was first up, showing off his catching and jumping skills.  Cayenne, a Corgi/Australian Cattle Dog mix, showed off his acrobatics as did Zen, a 10-year-old Australian Shepherd who jumped 22 feet into a 33,000-gallon pool.

Twitch, an Australian Sheepdog, closed out the show by demonstrating how he got his name, and giving visitors sloppy dog kisses.

In the 4-H small animal building, visitors could watch chicks hatch and view an amazing number of chickens, rabbits, and other prizewinners.  Sheep, sows, pigs, and horses competed for best-in-show honors in the larger ring, while horsemanship was showcased in the jumping rings and dressage trials.

See the show’s website for showtimes, directions and ticket prices.

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